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Why Is My Anthurium Dying? (6 Causes and Rescue Tips)

Why Is My Anthurium Dying? (6 Causes and Rescue Tips)

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A few dreamy names anthuriums go by are flamingo flowers, laceleaf, painter’s palette, velvet cardboard, and bird’s nest. All are descriptive of their exotic beauty.

When your anthuriums are flourishing, it’s easy to get overzealous with their care. You’re doing something right and then you do it some more. This is when things can go south pretty fast.

If you have an anthurium dying, this article is for you. Find out what causes your anthurium’s ill health and how you can revive them to their former beauty.

Why Are My Anthurium Flowers Dying?

Anthuriums are low-maintenance once you’ve set the ideal growing conditions for them. They’re native to tropical rainforests, so they thrive in indirect light, as well as warm and humid environments.

They also live above ground as aerial plants or epiphytes, with plenty of room to stretch out their roots.

Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook their inherent traits and special needs when they’re looking so healthy. So what happens when you notice that their glossy flowers, technically called spathes, are withering or falling?

Before you proceed with any rescue attempts, it’s essential to first determine what’s causing their flowers to die. It’s only then that you’d know exactly how to move forward.

Here are the reasons your anthurium flowers are dying:

1 – Too Little or Too Much Water

The hard truth about plants, tropical or not, is that the thing that’s giving them life can also take it away from them. Yes, water is a silent killer when you’re giving your anthuriums too much or too little of it.

Overwatering

If anthuriums come from moist tropical rainforests, they need a steady supply of water, right? It’s a notion that isn’t only wrong, but extremely dangerous to anthuriums.

In the wild, anthuriums grow on tree trunks, leaf litter, and mossy nooks. Under lush tree canopies, they depend on a drizzling of rainwater or dewdrops for sustenance.

Since they’re not rooted in soil, water quickly washes away and they only get the amount they need.

Packed dirt can easily get waterlogged and result in a buildup of disease-causing microbes. This can further lead to root rot that can ultimately kill your anthuriums.

Here are the symptoms that your anthuriums are getting too much to drink:

  • Stunted growth
  • Wilting and curling leaves
  • Yellowing stems and leaves
  • Browned and crisped leaves
  • Mushy stem
  • Darkened, slimy, and musty-smelling roots

Keep in mind that root rot takes its sweet time with your plants. The early signs are easy to miss because it’s doing its dirty work underneath.

Root rot attacks the roots, cutting off essential supplies to the rest of the plant. Usually, it has done enough damage before you even realize what hit your precious anthurium.

Underwatering

Just as vile to anthuriums is neglecting their water needs. As with any other species, too little water will dehydrate them and give them undue stress.

The signs that your anthuriums are dying of thirst include:

  • Slow growth
  • Dry, brittle leaves
  • Browning leaves

A quick way to differentiate between these two watering issues is to stick your finger into the potting soil. If it comes out wet or caked in dirt, you’ll know in an instant what you’re dealing with.

2 – Wrong Lighting Conditions

Anthuriums thrive in warm, bright areas away from direct sunlight, which makes them ideal as houseplants. Where they come from, they live a sheltered existence under the dense foliage of towering trees.

Any discolorations in the foliage can give you a hint that their current spot in the house isn’t doing them any good.

Too Much Light

If you place them strategically around the house, they’ll reward you with plenty of vibrant blooms year-round. Leave them out in the sun and they’ll let you know they’re miserable.

Prolonged exposure to the sun will scorch their leaves and bleach their flowers. Sunburned leaves range from pale yellow to brown.

Browned tips and patches will crack and crumble when you press them between your fingers. Eventually, they’ll wither and die.

Too Little Sunlight

Lack of sunlight can stunt the growth of your anthuriums and prevent them from bearing flowers. They may bloom at low light, but they’ll produce fewer flowers with less than stellar coloring.

3 – Cold Injury

Anthuriums thrive in warm temperatures: 70–85°F during the day and no less than 60°F at night.

Freezing temperatures can be detrimental to their health. Winter season can slow down their growth and turn their leaves yellow.

Frost damage can occur with over-watered plants during a cold snap. The leaves will appear desiccated, much like suffering from sun scorch.

4 – Lack of Humidity

Anthuriums flourish in humid environments, preferably at 60% humidity or higher. Without air conditioning and heating, they grow extremely well indoors.

They can tolerate low humidity but will show slow or poor growth. Worse, their leaves may wither and fall off.

Dry air can also exacerbate the effects of under-watering and sunburn.

5 – Salt Buildup and Fertilizer Burn

Salt build and fertilizer burn cause common dehydration symptoms in anthuriums. These include:

  • Yellowed or browned leaves
  • Dry, brittle leaves
  • Wilting

Over time, hard water can leave unhealthy deposits of calcium and magnesium in the potting mix. Similarly, over-fertilizing can cause a buildup of soluble mineral salts in the soil.

Both suppress the roots from drawing water. As a result, the leaves suffer from a lack of moisture and dry out.

6 – Pest Infestation

For such tiny creatures, certain pests can wreak so much havoc on anthuriums. The usual offenders are:

  • Scale insects
  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips

Here are the signs of pest damage on anthurium leaves:

  • Yellow speckles
  • Tiny brown spots
  • Black sooty mold
  • Holes

How to Save an Anthurium Plant

Now that you know what’s wrong with your anthuriums, let’s look at the corrective measures you can try to help them spring back to life.

1 – Get Your Potting Mix Right

You need to repot your houseplants if you have root rot or a chronic case of waterlogged soil.

Anthuriums need a potting mix of coarse, loose, and well-draining materials. A blend of pine bark, peat moss, and perlite can give their aerial roots ample legroom.

You can also use store-bought orchid soil as a base. Add a few chunks of charcoal or coco coir chips to aid in drainage, moisture retention, and aeration.

2 – Provide the Right Amount of Water

When watering, get the soil slightly damp, not soaking wet. If the potting mix is soggy, wait for it to dry out before giving it a drink.

With dehydrated anthuriums, water them as usual. It’s always easier to treat under-watered plants than over-watered ones.

To gauge the moisture levels of your plant, stick your finger one knuckle deep into the potting mix. If the soil feels dry, that’s your cue to grab the watering can.

3 – Prune Dead Leaves and Rotted Roots

Cut off dying leaves at the base using a clean pair of scissors. This will improve the plant’s appearance, encourage fresh growth, and stop the spread of disease and pests.

To treat root rot, discard contaminated soil and snip off infected roots. Disinfect the pruning shears between cuts.

Finally, repot your anthurium in a new potting mix.

4 – Relocate Your Anthuriums

Move your fried anthuriums out of the sun to an area flooded with filtered light. Limit sun exposure to chilly mornings and winter months.

5 – Increase Humidity

Invest in a high-quality humidifier to raise the humidity levels around your anthuriums. Misting is ineffective as its effects only last a few minutes.

6 – Flush Out Fertilizer With Water

Place your fertilizer-burned anthurium in the sink and run tepid water over the soil to flush out built-up minerals. Leave the plant to drain and dry completely.

You may need to repot your anthurium in a new potting mix if much of the soil washes away.

7 – Get Rid of Pests

Isolate the infected plants and blast off the critters with water. You can also spray the bugs using a soapy solution. Dilute one teaspoon of mild liquid soap in one liter of water.

Rinse and wipe off the leaves after ten minutes. Repeat until there’s not a single insect left.

Final Thoughts

We hope that with the help of this guide, you’ll stop wondering: Why is my anthurium dying?

Your houseplants are looking sickly because they get too much or too little water and sunlight. Other common problems include cold injury, lack of humidity, fertilizer burn, and pest infestation.

Understanding your anthurium’s special needs is key to keeping it in tip-top shape. Know what and how much to give it, so it’ll grow without a hitch.

Before you go: Now is the perfect time to start tracking your gardening progress, and I created a garden journal to do exactly that. Click the image below to see it in action and to get your own copy.

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